Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MI, NE, OH: Domestic partnership benefits being lost

As in Virginia with the Marshall-Newman Amendment (to the Virginia Bill of Rights) that passed last year, amendments and laws banning gay marriage around the country are affecting domestic partner benefits for “unmarried” couples.

This was pointed out in a page 1 USA Story today June 20, 2007 by Marisol Bello, “Unmarried couples lose legal benefits: Laws on gay marriage also apply to domestic unions”.

In Michigan, a state court has ruled (in Feb. 2007) that unmarried partners of state employees may not be offered domestic partner benefits, due to the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (and apparently approximations of marriage).

A US Court of appeals upheld Nebraska’s amendment preventing domestic partnership benefits for same-sex partners of state employees. And in Ohio there is a lawsuit preventing Miami of Ohio University from offering same-sex dp benefits.

Camilla Taylor, from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said “Anti-gay organizations have tried to attack currently existing protections for gays and lesbians and unmarried couples for a very long time. They don’t want to limit marriage between a man and a woman – they want to attack the protections that exist and make life difficult for non-traditional families.”

Make difficult indeed. They want to glorify sexual intercourse in lifetime monogamous traditional marriage, so that traditional couples have an incentive to marry, stay together with activity, and have and raise children. That cuts both ways, because, while bowing to institutionalism, it admits that most people are not strong enough on their own without social approbation that amounts to penalizing those who don’t participate by making them subsidize the marriages of others. It’s rather like mandatory health insurance. Semi-mandatory heterosexual marriage.

Update: On June 21, 2007 Tim Craig posted a story in The Washington Post, p B5, "University of Virginia: Gym Benefits Extended to Same-Sex Couples. Link is here. These minimal benefits are not considered a violation of Marshall-Newman in Virginia.

Also, media sources report on June 22 2007 that a bill authorizing gay marriage passed the New York State general assembly, 85-61, Long Island Newsday article "Gay marriage bill adopted by Assembly" by James T. Madore, link here.

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